AN exciting new exhibition showcasing Durham's heritage can now be viewed online.

The ‘Hidden Stories from the River Wear’ exhibition, a collaboration with underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead, explores stories of Durham’s past through objects discovered in the River Wear, evoking the social history of Durham’s past 1,000 years.

The exhibition features items discovered by Mr Bankhead, ranging from the Medieval period to the modern age; bringing to light stories of individual people: romance, religion, toys lost through time and artefacts both weird and wonderful.

Online visitors can explore close-up photographs of the artefacts to better understand Durham’s history and their own heritage, as well as the processes involved in underwater archaeology through videos created by Mr Bankhead.

Mr Bankhead said: “The Durham River Wear collection provides an important example of regionality in medieval and post-medieval material culture and constitutes a significant resource for national and international scholarship into medieval and post-medieval urban living.

“The collection tells the story of the lives of the people in cities and thus the value of such objects to local society and the wider international academic community, including other World Heritage Sites, is immense.”

Gemma Lewis, curator of Durham Castle and Museum of Archaeology, said: “The River Wear has had a long and expansive history with the city of Durham.

"The deposition of artefacts found in this exhibition are particularly fascinating as these create a snapshot of daily life in Durham through the centuries.”

The exhibition was curated by the students from Durham University’s MA Museum and Artefact Studies programme in collaboration with Mr Bankhead and Durham University’s Museum of Archaeology.

Dr Mary Brooks, convenor of the University’s Museum Communication module, said: “Gary Bankhead has recovered over 13,500 objects from the River Wear which created the perfect environment to preserve them as testimony to Durham’s past.

“These MA Museum and Artefact Studies students have created an absorbing exhibition showing how things from the past help us understand Durham’s different histories.”

‘Hidden Stories from the River Wear’ is open now and free to all. Visit

Durham University’s Museum of Archaeology is reopening in late July.

For more information about other exhibitions at the museum, please visit